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Start Slated on 52-Story Tower : Ground Breaking Tuesday for Downtown Office Building

February 14, 1988|DAVID W. MYERS | David W. Myers is a Times real estate writer. and

A subsidiary of a Japanese building conglomerate will break ground Tuesday on a $200-million office project in downtown Los Angeles that will rise 52 stories and provide 1 million square feet of office space when completed in summer, 1990.

The complex, at the northwest corner of Figueroa Street and Wilshire Boulevard, will be owned and developed by Mitsui-Fudosan (U.S.A.) Inc.

The 760-foot-tall structure will become the North American headquarters of Mitsui Fudosan, the American subsidiary of Mitsui Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. Mitsui Real Estate owns dozens of properties, including the Tokyo Disneyland.

The high-rise, to be called Figueroa at Wilshire, will be the first major Los Angeles skyscraper developed by a Japanese firm and will push the number of downtown office buildings owned partially or entirely by Japanese companies to at least 13.

75-Foot Atriums

Los Angeles-based Albert C. Martin & Associates designed the building, which will feature two 75-foot-tall atriums that will serve as entryways leading from the street into the marble-clad main lobby. One atrium will front the corner of 6th Street and Figueroa, and the other will face Wilshire and Figueroa.

To make the complex "pedestrian-friendly," the sidewalk along Figueroa will be replaced with a 25-foot-wide granite promenade shaded by a canopy of trees. Inside the complex, a plaza will include sculptures, fountains, landscaping, and outdoor and cafe-style seating.

The plaza will be finished in granite and will feature marble lighting fixtures, bronze railings and cast-iron tree gratings.

Mitsui bought the site, formerly the home of the historic St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, for a reported $4 million in 1979. Its long delay in announcing a ground-breaking date had some local commercial brokerage experts wondering if the company was having second thoughts about its plans.

No Tenants Signed

Although Mitsui itself plans to take an undetermined amount of space in the building, no other tenants have been signed. In contrast, 50% of the nearby Library Tower office building--a 1.3-million-square-foot tower to be completed at about the same time--has already been leased.

Ray Lepone, senior marketing consultant in the downtown office of commercial broker Grubb & Ellis, said Mitsui may be able to get as much as 60% of the building leased up in the next two years. "But they'll probably run into a lot more competition beginning in 1990" because several other new office towers will be opening up and tenants will have more room to bargain with other developers.

Gerald D. Hines Interests, a Houston-based builder, is development manager of the Mitsui project. Los Angeles-based Swinterton & Walberg is general contractor.

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